There is no more sacred honor then to be with someone in their finial hours.
When our friend Joe was deciding to stop dialysis, he began asking about coming to Haywood Street Respite. Joe had many struggles throughout his life and dialysis was very hard for him. Brian spent a great deal of time supporting Joe on his journey. I know Joe felt very cared for and loved while he was making this decision.
Joe did stop dialysis and went to be with his family near Charlotte. He eventually moved to a Hospice house there. In the finial weeks of his life, he asked to come back to Haywood Street to die. We were honored to grant his final wish.
The staff at Haywood Street embraced Joe coming to stay at Respite. It was a challenge for the Respite staff, to be asked to do physical care and administer medications to someone. Vic, Mary, Ali and Joe rose to the challenge and showed amazing care and love to Joe.
We have such an incredible community. When asked to come and sit with Joe, so many people respond. Joe was never alone while he was with us. When Joe awoke confused and restless, there was always a loving hand and a comforting voice to reassure him he was safe. So many people were constantly stopping by to make sure he was doing alright.
Haywood Street had been Joe’s home for many years. It was where he found love and acceptance. Being in Respite gave many of Joe friends an opportunity to stop by and visit with him. John played harmonica for him, Charles brought him a cross and a shirt. He was able to talk with old friends. You could tell how much it meant to him because he smiled so much, those last few days.
His death came peacefully and quietly. He just drifted away.
He will be missed by many. There will be a memorial service at Haywood Street. There will be another announcement as to when.
As I reflect on what makes Haywood Street the remarkable community it is. I will always think of Joe and how he gave all of us the opportunity to show the love that makes us this very special community.